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Fof

Cooking plain old chips

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This may seem, and almost probably is, a daft question, but I need help.

As a kid, I am now 74, my mother, and myself later, just cut the chips, threw then in the basket and lowered it into HOT dripping (Always being VERY careful the pan didn't boil over.  Happened.)

Now, all I get are chips that are excessively brown on the outside, and not fully cooked in the middle. Yeukkk!!!

I now have a deep fryer, set to 180C, as all web recipies state, and checked with an IR thermometer.  Never attempts to boil over, so is therefore at a lower temp then previously.  Raising the temp just makes the chips worse.

Checking the web tells me how to double and triple cook them, and even shallow frying them.

Any and all ideas and suggestions are being asked for.

HELP!!

 

Fof

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3 minutes ago, Fof said:

As a kid, I am now 74, my mother, and myself later, just cut the chips, threw then in the basket and lowered it into HOT dripping (Always being VERY careful the pan didn't boil over.  Happened.)

Now, all I get are chips that are excessively brown on the outside, and not fully cooked in the middle.


Yeah, most of this cooking stuff was a lot easier before we started figuring out all kinds of ways to make it more complicated. Now, instead of just cooking the chips like you used to, you have be precise with temps, use the right potatoes, use the right oil, use multi-frying techniques, etc. And somehow, knowing about all those things makes the old way of doing things suddenly not work anymore. :P I've always thought chips benefitted from a double cook but thinner cut chips do fine with a single cook.  I don't really have much in the way of suggestions other than a double cook will definitely solve the excessively brown exterior/under cooked interior thing. I've tried the triple cook with the boiling first and didn't think the results were worth the extra effort over what I get from a double cook in the fryer.

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There is also the type of potato. I came up with the basic Idaho Russet. Today  it iss fancy pants potato selection. Might  be

 affecting your result

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As a kid, the best chips were all double cooked. BUT after the first cook (just to heat them through, I think) you ALWAYS tightly wrapped them in newspaper. Half an hour later you just did a fairly quick deep fry.

I think the wrapping in paper did 3 things. It held the temperature for much longer, it effectively steamed the chips to fully cook them and then it also removed any excess water.

The "fat" we used was a fat pot on the stove specifically left there where all the excess fat from any frying or roasting of just about any meat added to the pot. The baking tray/frying pan was allowed to go cold and the set fat scooped off the top and added to the fat pot. The smell when it was heated was lovely, usually a cross between lamb/beef roast and fried sausages and chops.

Unfortunately the authorities deemed the ink on newsprint to be bad for us and then we realized how unhygienic it really was to use newspaper. (you never bothered to wash your hands before reading the newspaper!)

All the chips we brought at the local fish and chip shop were always double cooked. They would be cooked in bulk and then stored over or beside the deep fryer , sometimes for a day or 2. The advantage the fish & chip shops have is that they have huge fryers so the temperature doesn't drop much when they added the chips, unlike our home fryers with limited oil/fat volume.

 

It might be worth par boiling the chips and allow them to dry before deep frying, if you only want to fry them once. I double fry them with the time in the middle initially in foil for half an hour then open the foil and put the lot in a warm oven to dry them out. I presently use canola oil but have tried some of the "specialist" deep fryer fats/oils but they generally have very limited life and don't seem to do any better.

 

 

 

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A restaurant I cooked for years ago made great chips. Russet potatoes prepped the night before, soaked in water and kept in the walk-in overnight. After a good drying, they were pre-cooked at 325f til just before they browned. They were kept in fryer baskets in portion sizes that were popular and cooked to a nice golden brown at 350f. We served halibut on newsprint but the piece closest to the fish was clean unprinted paper so no issues. Good luck.

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Guys

Thanks for all the comments.

I suspect it is a potato variety problem.  To the best of my recollection, we just bought 'generic' potatoes from the local shops.  These were always whites.  I do recall the name King Edwards, but whether these were the generics or not, who know.  It was quite a few years before I knew anything about such things as floury/waxy, or red skinned with white or yellow flesh.

Now I buy the 'generic' potatoes from the local shops, and the results are very underwhelming.

I know I can double/triple cook, but more hassle.  I am one of those guys who pretty well decides what to have to eat when I enter the kitchen.  Meat will have been decided and set to thaw, but as to what I do with it, depends on my fancy at that moment in time.  I like spontaneity😵😓😓

I guess I have start to try different varieties😓

Fof

 

ps how to delete misplaced Emoji?

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1 hour ago, Fof said:

Guys

Thanks for all the comments.

I suspect it is a potato variety problem.  To the best of my recollection, we just bought 'generic' potatoes from the local shops.  These were always whites.  I do recall the name King Edwards, but whether these were the generics or not, who know.  It was quite a few years before I knew anything about such things as floury/waxy, or red skinned with white or yellow flesh.

Now I buy the 'generic' potatoes from the local shops, and the results are very underwhelming.

I know I can double/triple cook, but more hassle.  I am one of those guys who pretty well decides what to have to eat when I enter the kitchen.  Meat will have been decided and set to thaw, but as to what I do with it, depends on my fancy at that moment in time.  I like spontaneity😵😓😓

I guess I have start to try different varieties😓

Fof

 

ps how to delete misplaced Emoji?

 

You might try the cold oil method which is my usual for small batches

I use this with Yukon Gold potatoes and do fine.

Cut potatoes...rinse off surface starch (which browns fast), dry them

put in a cold pan with just enough oil to cover them.

turn on the heat and remove when they are brown and cooked through (test by eating one).

 

They aren't greasier than a regular fry because the wetness in the potato excludes the oil from penetrating.

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Well recently I tried making some chips by a method which Heston Blumenthal follows  or he came up with, I am unaware of that, but it's the process that he shared in his cooking series called " How To Cook Like  Heston ". I felt to talk about it because the output was so good. He recommends following steps:

- As we all know we start by peeling and cutting the potatoes into long batons, common stuff. 

- Then he suggests to sort of par boil the potatoes, starting up with cold water, cooking them till they are still raw in the middle but the outer layer is cooked.

- Strain them after around 20 minutes, make some tiny holes on them with a pin or something that tiny and freeze them.

- Freeze it for an hour.

- You keep the oil on a low flame, and fry them. Take them out and now you increase the flame to high and fry them again.

 

These steps give a really crispy from the outside and soft on the inside chips, just the way I like it. Throw some salt and pepper, fry some fish and enjoy !

 

I would like to know other methods that you all might have experimented or tried. But till now this was the best method I came across.

Cheers to Chef for sharing !!

 

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29 minutes ago, gfweb said:

 

You might try the cold oil method which is my usual for small batches

I use this with Yukon Gold potatoes and do fine.

Cut potatoes...rinse off surface starch (which browns fast), dry them

put in a cold pan with just enough oil to cover them.

turn on the heat and remove when they are brown and cooked through (test by eating one).

 

They aren't greasier than a regular fry because the wetness in the potato excludes the oil from penetrating.

 

What heat setting do you use?

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1 hour ago, ElsieD said:

 

What heat setting do you use?

Medium to high depending on the volume of oil.

 

The thing can go quickly.

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Couple of things....

 

Make sure the the potatoes are rinsed well in cold water. Dry them after.Too much starch on the chip will cause them to brown too quick. Make sure they are at room temperature. If to cold on the inside, it will take longer to cook. Also, do not cut your chips too thick. I had that cause trouble too.

 

Here in California, most prefer to rinse/soak...1st cook at 160C until soft and rubbery followed by 180C until brown and crispy. I appreciate that you do not want to double fry, but make the best French fries. I make both fires and chips this way with Yukon golds with no issues.

 

mark

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Posted (edited)

Hey, can we please remember that Yukon Gold potatoes are American and seldom available elsewhere (or only at high prices)!

 

I'm fairly certain the OP is British (going by some language and the use of Celsius temperatures) where YG potatoes are far from mainstream. No one where I am has even heard of them!

 

I would suggest it is better to refer to specific traits of the potatoes rather than one cultivar. Waxy, floury, etc. For what it's worth Maris Piper are my go to variety for chips in the UK. (King Edwards are OK , too). Not that I've lived there for decades.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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3 hours ago, liuzhou said:

Hey, can we please remember that Yukon Gold potatoes are American and seldom available elsewhere (or only at high prices)!

 

I'm fairly certain the OP is British (going by some language and the use of Celsius temperatures) where YG potatoes are far from mainstream. No one where I am has even heard of them!

 

I would suggest it is better to refer to specific traits of the potatoes rather than one cultivar. Waxy, floury, etc. For what it's worth Maris Piper are my go to variety for chips in the UK. (King Edwards are OK , too). Not that I've lived there for decades.

 

 

Very well said. In my native country of Germany we have literally dozens of varieties available even at smaller supermarkets. Referring to the desired cooking properties certainly makes sense, if you know them ...

 

https://www.asausagehastwo.com/choosing-potatoes-germany/

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Posted (edited)

😀

3 hours ago, liuzhou said:

Hey, can we please remember that Yukon Gold potatoes are American and seldom available elsewhere (or only at high prices)!

 

I'm fairly certain the OP is British (going by some language and the use of Celsius temperatures) where YG potatoes are far from mainstream. No one where I am has even heard of them!

 

I would suggest it is better to refer to specific traits of the potatoes rather than one cultivar. Waxy, floury, etc. For what it's worth Maris Piper are my go to variety for chips in the UK. (King Edwards are OK , too). Not that I've lived there for decades.

 

t.

 

OK,  fine. Just please see that you adhere to that restriction as well. No more Chinese stuff that I can't get in a supermarket over here. 😉😀


Edited by gfweb (log)
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Posted (edited)

If you haven't tried the modernist triple cooked chips, you're missing out. Heston invented it, but there are a bunch of variations out there. I started out with the ChefSteps version, but now have my own approach. Start with Russet or Maris Piper potatoes (depending on where you are).

 

The technique begins with an initial blanching step to cook the potato and wake up the starches. You want to cook them until they are almost falling apart (and some will fall apart). Doing this in a water bath is more gentle because there's less agitation and bumping around; you'll break fewer fries if you blanch them sous vide, but if you don't care then that's not really necessary. Half the time, I just boil them on the stovetop. If I'm feeling precious, I'll go all-out. Everything's a trade off.

 

Anyway, after the initial blanch, the fries are drained and allowed to dry. The easiest thing to do is move them to a rack, let them cool down to room temp, and then move them to the fridge to let the surface moisture flash off. Then there's a low-temp fry step. You fry the blanched potatoes at a low temp (like 275F/130C) to start to set the crust and to drive out moisture. Once that's done, you drain the fries, allow them to cool, and then freeze them.

 

From frozen, it's just a quick trip through some hot oil. By the time the outside looks done, the inside will be thawed. And delicious.

 

That freezing step is cool because it allows you to do all this pain-in-the-butt work before hand in a big batch, and then you have fancy modernist fries in your freezer ready to deep fry at your leisure. That's the only way I can justify doing all that work (unless it's for a special occasion or something).

 

There are a lot of variations in this framework. People have put their fries in vacuum chambers, ultrasonic baths, and enzyme solutions to try to produce a maximally crusty and delicious surface. I've tried two of those three, and found the Pectinex SPL pre-soak on the raw potatoes to be the cheapest, easiest way to enhance the surface texture. That's Dave Arnold's trick. But it's not really necessary. None of the fussy Modernist epicycles are really necessary to pull off a delicious triple cooked chip.

 

Just follow the formula: blanch/boil, fry, fry. 
 

Examples:

 

3X Cooked Chips with Methocel F50 battered fish. This was a lard fry, if I recall correctly. 

 

.post-73474-0-55387200-1446742522_thumb.jpeg

 

Here are some sliders and fries. I made the slider patties from some freshly ground pastured chuck. Then I froze them. The "pickup" on this meal was to deep fry the fries, then deep fry the burgers. I used my late grandmother's french fry cutter instead of a knife on this one. It is not the best version of that tool, but it keeps the dream alive, so to speak.

 

8ae31e546b85e1fbff94a84c4987cecd.thumb.jpg.5968a1067f8788a0b28e5187234ff098.jpg

 

729eccf194cff6780182caa3924acf43.thumb.jpg.6f3ddc794f093fbefd4df284d381cec8.jpg

 

Here's a ChefSteps iteration doing thin-cut fries. They have a recipe for the thick-cut ones as well. 

 

 

Fry fry fry, agent Starling... Fry fry fry...


Edited by btbyrd (log)
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There is no "best" or "correct" way to do anything. There are just better and worse paths to specific goals. But I don't think that you fell into that trap.

 

The Platonic metaphysics have corrupted our thinking about value in so many domains... but the quest for the One "best" way to do _________ in the kitchen is one of the most obvious. This is a stupid quest. There is no Platonic form of the French Fry that our methods are failing to live up to. There's just a bunch of techniques to do particular things to achieve some desired result. All of them involve trade-offs. All of them are better and worse in various respects. None are "best." None are "correct." I wish we'd all stop thinking like Platonists about value in the kitchen. It'd take a big weight off our shoulders and free our minds to explore the world of culinary technique free of guilt and shame.

 

Some outlets have built their brand on Platonic "best-mongering." They shell out recipe after recipe for "the best roast chicken" or "the best pumpkin pie." They're hoping that you're afraid in the kitchen. Afraid of not living up to that BS Platonic ideal. Because they've got a solution to sell you. They're counting on your fear. They might not know that's what they're doing, but that's what they're doing. And they need to knock it off. We have enough neurotic cooks as it is.

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Guys, Gals and any others out there.

 

@liuzhou  -  Spot on.  Yes I am in the UK.  Will try Maris Piper

@btbyrd - As you say " There is no "best" or "correct" way to do anything."  I have had a few 'debates' over the years, regarding this, not just in cooking but in other fields as well.  It seems that over the years, there has been a race to see who can make something simple, as complicated as possible.  In cooking, Heston Blumenthal comes to mind, as a prime example.  I am a simple person, who likes to do things the simplest way i.e. lazy.  Enough of this though.

 

Just for interest, I went down to my local store, earlier, and checked out the spuds.  They had:-

English Red  -  red skinned, white flesh, waxy.  2.5kg bag only.

Maris Piper - floury.  2.5kg bag only

White potatoes - floury but who knows what variety/varieties they are,  ie generic.  Loose medium sized spuds or bagged, small, medium and large ones.

That's all my choices.

 

Keep the comments coming, please.  I am really enjoying this thread😁

 

Fof

 

 

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I know this.  Most places in the states advertising "fresh cut fries" get an epic fail.  What they should do, is fry them earlier in the day at a lower temp (325F?) until soft and starting to get a golden color, then take them out.  Drain them or wrap them in paper, or something, but leave them alone.   

 

Then to serve, fry at 375F to order for 3-5 minutes until nicely crisp.  It is unavoidable there will be some oxidation (brown) but it is about the texture and flavor.  

 

I don't know why places don't do this?  It makes it easier (quicker) to get the fries (chips) out to order, and they are what the customer wants, crispy, and will stay crispy while being fluffy inside.  

 

It's not that hard!

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Owtahear said:

I don't know why places don't do this? 

 

It's not that hard!

That's true as far as it goes, but there's always that pesky gap between theory and reality.

 

I found myself constantly having to make adjustments based on the potatoes I was getting from my supplier. Hypothetically they should have been the same year-round (same supplier, same brand, same cultivar, etc) but that's never the case. Sometimes they were perfect. Sometimes they'd clearly not been out of the farm co-op's cold storage for as long as they should have been, and were still in their sugary "anti-freeze" state (and therefore a quick-browning PITA to deal with). At some point in the year there's the switch from old-crop to new-crop potatoes to dread, as well...that requires similar adjustment.

 

I eventually mastered the necessary tweaks (longer soak, lower the blanching temp) but it was an ongoing battle, and I threw out a lot of fries in the process. The worst part? I also had to keep frozen fries on hand because a solid half of my clientele preferred those. 🙄


Edited by chromedome (log)
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